Jagmeeta Thind Joy
The traditional salwar kameez – the one with a knee-length kurta and Patiala salwar – has been relegated to the back of the wardrobe for many a fashionista (or not) in the city. Today it’s all about long, longer and longest kurta hemlines that are teamed up with either a palazzo or “slim-fit” pants. Gowns, not really the Victorian kinds but definitely their country cousins with flouncy skirts are much in trend and many have got a Roman dress-up with billowing capes attached to them. A young Punjaban’s wardrobe is no longer about “suits” but boasts of a contemporary version of the same.
Catering to this are designer labels in the city that are fast moving away from traditional Punjabi embroideries and silhouettes. “It’s the season of change,” points out Rupam Kaur Grewal. One of the leading couturiers in the city, Grewal recently relaunched her label, Jaamavar Minx with an expansive studio space in Elante Mall. Right from the window display to the collections inside, the modernization of Punjabi silhouettes and embroideries is hard to miss. “My label caters primarily to the new age bride and her family. Traditionally styled suits with ornate dabka and aari work isn’t something that appeals to women anymore,” notes Grewal who has swapped heavy zari with light sequins and tube work in her latest collection.
An ode to blooms, roses in particular, the collection boasts of floral patterns – lilies, pansies, roses et al – are spangled across the lightest of tulle, chiffon and georgette fabric. The outfits follow an Indo-western theme with palazzos with kurtas with capes attached, skirt-like lehengas with contrast dupattas and floor-skimming gowns in every possible pastel hue. “I have also reworked on the typical Punjabi jaal work seen mostly in gota patti,” shares Grewal who has also put together a range of saris this season to cater to a growing demand.
Also moving away from the traditional style of embroideries is designer Shradha Joshi. An alumnus of the London College of Fashion, Joshi’s signature label is also exploring the beauty of flowers this summer in an innovative way. “Fashion loves floral but I wanted to imagine them in an all new way,” says Joshi who is known for her geometric style of embellishments. “The embroideries in this collection have been done using silver and metallic pipes with pearl and thread work,” explains the designer. Agreeing that young fashionistas in the city are keen on modern silhouettes, Joshi’s latest collection brings in dresses, skirts, kurta-style jackets and shirts. “Punjab has always been about colour but in fashion, the colour palette has toned down to make room for pastels,” she says.
This change is equally evident in the line-up of swatches that another city-based designer Jasmine Bains has put together for the season. Instead of the usually riotous hues associated with designer wear, Bains has worked on a pale colour palette that offers steel grey, blush pink, blue, silver, ivory and champagne. Wispy gowns in chiffon with delicate hand embroidery on the yoke, tulle gilets, silk jumpsuits, toga style sari worn over pants, the designer is clearly looking at modern Indian dressing that is in demand. “The embellishments are mostly beads paired with a newer take on dabka and zardozi. You will also find metallic references in the clothes,” points out Bains.
“Yes, there is definitely a shift in styling, especially embroideries. The concept of embroidery on the cuffs and ghera (hemline) has changed. Also while florals rule, this season I have also incorporated motifs like birds, dragonflies, butterflies and foliage in design,” says designer Simran Dhillon of the label Firozi. Most of her suits come with pants or palazzos and the dupatta takes centrestage with light embroideries and scallops. The designer is also working with cutwork and applique and her choice of fabrics are summer-friendly with organza, Chanderi and georgette.
(This article first appeared in The Indian Express)